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Why is VLC Media Player banned in India?

Why is VLC Media Player banned in India?

VLC Media Player, one of the most popular media players in India across multiple platforms, is reportedly banned in the country. The VLC Media Player website no longer works in India and users can no longer download the program’s exe file (Windows executable file) for installation.

Despite the ban, the media player can still be downloaded on Windows devices. There is also no problem running the software installed on smartphones and laptops.

While there is no official information about any government ban, access to VLC website has been restricted by major ISPs like Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea. The website can still be accessed using the VPN service.

A tweet from Gagandeep Sapra shows that when users try to open the VLC Media Player website in India, they receive the message “The website has been blocked by order of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under the IT Act of 2000”.

Reports say that the VLC Media Player was banned five months ago without any notice from either the VideoLan organization or the government. As the applications continued to work and only access to the website was restricted, the ban went unnoticed.

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While the Center has yet to release any official information on the matter, in April, cybersecurity experts warned that a China-based hacker group, Cicada, used VLC Media Player to deliver malware as part of a campaign of Chinese government-backed cyberattack. The government has not released any official report on the alleged attack and claims the Chinese government was involved.

According to a previous report by MediaNama, VLC Media Player had been banned in India for the past five months. However, most users of the popular program on PC and Android, who probably already had the player installed, did not realize that the site had been removed.

The alleged Cicada cyber attack spanned three continents and was aimed at espionage, according to reports. He targeted various groups involved in legal, political and religious activities and non-governmental organizations. The hacking was traced back to Cicada, also known as Stone Panda, menuPass, APT10, Potassium, and Red Apollo, which has been active for more than 15 years.

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There is evidence that Cicada gained access to some of the networks it penetrated through a Microsoft Exchange server, a sign that they exploited a known vulnerability in unpatched devices, according to reports.

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